Sizzling Sangakkara spoils India's party
Seasoned Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara delivered with a spectacular ton to give his team a two-wicket win over India in the Asia Cup here Friday.
The Indian pacers failed to back up the good show of spinners, allowing Sri Lanka to chase down India's 264 for nine in the final over at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium. Sangakkara (103 off 84 balls) anchored the chase beautifully until he was caught off a full toss in the 49th over.
Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother at 216 for seven but Sangakkara's sizzling knock made the difference.
Ravindra Jadeja (3/30) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/42) bowled beautifully and when their spell ended, Sri Lanka needed 44 runs off the last five overs.
Virat Kohli had no option but to rely on his pacers in the death overs, who proved expensive once again. Mohammed Shami conceded 81 runs in 10 overs taking three wickets while Bhuvneshwar Kumar went wicketless and gave 45 runs in 9.2 overs.
For Sri Lanka, it was their second win in as many games. India, having won and lost a game, will have to bounce back in their third match against arch-rivals Pakistan Sunday.
Sangakkara's effort was a lesson on how to pace an innings. The veteran cricketer grinded it out initially against the spinners and once he got set, strokes flowed from his bat. It was his 18th ODI century, studded with a dozen fours and a six.
Kusal Perera's 64 at the top also proved handy.
Earlier, India faltered late in their innings to end at 264 for nine.
Shikhar Dhawan (94) and Kohli (48) shared a 97-run stand for the second wicket before a middle-order collapse pushed India back from a promising 175 for two in 35 overs to 215 for seven in the 44th over.
The strong batting line-up minus the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni was found wanting against the Sri Lankan spinners Ajantha Mendis (4/60) and Sachithra Senanayake (3/41).
The Indians, who have preferred chasing in the recent past, lost the toss and were asked to bat on a low and slow wicket.
They started slowly, reaching 37 for one in 10 overs before Dhawan and stand-in captain Kohli gradually upped the run rate.
Kohli, after hitting four sixes and a six, was foxed by Mendis' carrom ball which turned away to flick the off-stump.
Ajinkya Rahane (22) joined Dhawan in the middle and just when the pair looked set for a substantial partnership, the Mumbai batsman was caught at short-third man off Senanayake, making it 175 for three.
Dhawan played well in his 114-ball knock until Mendis bowled him with another faster one. It was the southpaw's second dismissal in the 90s in three ODIs.
The wickets kept on falling regularly as Mendis and Senanayake got on top of the Indian batsmen.
Stuart Binny failed to score in his first international innings while Dinesh Karthik (4) was out to a loose shot.
Getting past 250 now looked tough but for the effort of Ravindra Jadeja (22 not out) and Mohammed Shami (14 not out), who hammered two huge sixes off Mendis in the penultimate over.
(Posted on 28-02-2014)
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